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Fanfares and Anthems

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The XXXII Olympiad is taking place as this blog is being posted.  Remarkable athletes, remarkable events, remarkable records are being broken, as well as unrehearsed drama playing out on the world stage.

This is, ideally, the best in the world gathered together in one place to settle who is the best of the best on a specific day and specific time.  And, as in life, no matter how much you train or prepare, some days you don’t win. But there’s no shame in that. Competition always pushes us further, and I am happy to see more sportsmanlike conduct and respect in these games than I have witnessed in some time.

After the contest, it’s nice to watch the medal ceremony as the national anthems are being played for the medalists. And for some time now, the opening fanfare of the televised portion of the games always reminds us an exciting contest is about to happen. I searched for the composer of the Olympic Fanfare and Theme, and was not surprised that it is American composer John Williams of Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and other movie scores.  His favorite orchestral device of brass and percussion is exhibited for maximum effect with this fanfare. And the composer has had several commissions from the International Olympic Committee; he also composed “Summon the Heroes” for the 1996 Summer Games,  “Call of the Champions” for the 2002 Winter Games, and “The Olympic Spirit” for the 1988 games.

The NLS Music Section has some of the national anthems that are played for the winning countries, as well as stories about past Olympians in the talking book collection.

Braille scores

The Star-Spangled Banner, piano version by Joseph Hofmann, words by Francis Scott Key. For piano, bar-over-bar format (BRM23527)

Radio Collection of National Songs & Hymns, trombone, single line format. Includes America, Blue Bells of Scotland, Hail Columbia, La Marseillaise, among others. (BRM08173)

Old Song Favorites from Songs That Never Grow Old, for voice and piano, line-by-line and bar-over-bar format. Includes Battle Hymn of the Republic, Rally Round the Flag, Maryland my Maryland, The Wearing of the Green, and others. (BRM19554)

O Canada, SATB with piano or organ, bar-over-bar format. (BRT37081)

Airs and Ballads of Britain, arranged for piano, bar-over-bar format.  Includes God Save the Queen. (BRM36869)

Favorite Movie Themes for Flute, includes the theme from the movie Chariots of Fire. (BRM34551)

Audio books

The Symbols of Nationhood, symbols of nations in song are heard in national anthems from such countries as Sweden, Belgium, Germany, and Italy. (DBM00901)

Death of our National Anthem; Should the Star-Spangled Banner be Abolished? George London and Howard Mitchell debate the merits of the Star-Spangled Banner, compare it with other national anthems, and play suggested alternatives. (DBM00118)

Poets and Patriotism: the 200th birthday of the Star-Spangled Banner, A panel discussion on the national anthem with experts in music and history. (DBM04298)

Here are some talking books about the Olympics and champions available for download from BARD.

Male Olympic Champions, (DB 51854)

Women Olympic Champions, (DB 54640)

The Olympics, a History of the Modern Games, (DB 36082)

The Flying Scotsman, the story of Eric Liddell, the Scottish runner who, because of his religious beliefs, refused to run on a Sunday and thus sacrificed a chance to win the gold medal at the 1924 Olympics, (DB 19169)

For the Glory, biography of an Olympic runner Eric Liddell, who was profiled in the film Chariots of Fire, (DB 84489)

Runners on the track finishing the final heat for the 800 meters, 1924 Olympics in Paris.
Final heat of the 800 meter run.

When athletes gather at an Olympiad, they’re all winners. And fanfares confirm that.

Photo finish of the 100-meter dash at the 1948 Olympic games, won by Harrison Dillard--Also running are E. McDonald Bailey, Alastair McCorquodale, Lloyd Berrington LaBeach, Barney Ewell, and Mel Patton
Photo finish of the 100-meter dash at the 1948 Olympic games, won by Harrison Dillard–Also running are E. McDonald Bailey, Alastair McCorquodale, Lloyd Berrington LaBeach, Barney Ewell, and Mel Patton.

To borrow these and other items, feel free to download them directly to your smart device from BARD. If you prefer to borrow hard copies of braille music or talking books on digital cartridge, give us a call us at 1-800-424-8567 extension 2, or e-mail us at [email protected].

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